Optional tours are additional tourist attractions that you can use when going on holiday, but you don’t have to. It strengthens the attractiveness of holiday trips due to the opportunity to get to know the area, monuments, interesting places and everything that a given region has to offer tourists. It is a kind of organized event that will help you get to know a given place and take advantage of all attractions for a fixed fee.
What are optional tour?
Optional trips are trips organized in a place where we are on vacation, to attractive tourist spots, under the care of a guide, which is important additionally paid. They are organized by the tour operator with whom you go or local agencies.
Optional trips are most often bought from a resident who is waiting for you at the place of your vacation if we leave with a travel agency. You can also buy one yourself at your local agency dealing with trips around the area.
Another option for purchasing an optional trip is to buy it on site before your vacation from the organizer of our vacation. It is also a kind of booking a place at an organized event when their number is limited.
Pros and cons of buying optional trips at a travel agency and from local organizers
The plus is that the resident usually shows up in our accommodation by himself, we don’t have to move anywhere and look for local travel agencies. He comes on a certain day, at a certain time and presents the entire offer of additional trips. You can immediately buy a seat on one of them by paying the amount.
You always find out from the resident exactly where and about what time the organized means of transport will take you.
Such purchase takes place quickly, efficiently and smoothly.
The downside of optional trips bought from a resident is definitely a higher price than what local travel agencies offer you. This is directly influenced by the number of brokers who take their commission along the way. Including resident who ultimately sells this product. However, legends about the amount of their commission can be greatly exaggerated.
Where to buy an optional trip at a low price?
On the other hand, buying optional trips from local guides, you can count on considerable discounts compared to resident prices. This undoubtedly tempts, but before you make a hasty purchase, it is best to find out exactly what the price of the trip covers.
It also happens that you pay only for transport and guide service, and you have to pay extra for entry to the given object or any meals. After adding up everything, it will look almost the same as a trip bought from a travel agent.
But when it comes to basic travel insurance, it applies regardless of who you go on an optional trip with. It covers the entire period of your stay abroad, no matter where we buy an additional attraction – at a resident or at a local travel agency.
What should an optional trip include?
The optional trip usually includes travel on a selected means of transport, possible insurance (mainly extreme sports, which the basic policy does not cover) and the care of a pilot or guide. Sometimes there is both a guide and a pilot, because the local guide does not speak your language, so it is translated e.g. by the pilot of your trip.
What else is included in the price of the optional trip?
Additionally, the price of an optional trip may already include entrance fees for monuments, museums or other visited objects. Sometimes the price includes some meals during the trip (lunch, refreshments or a normal dinner). In some countries, you can also ask for tips for drivers transporting the entire trip from place to place. This is a voluntary donation, which is supposed to support usually poorly paid carriers.
It is also worth considering the written terms of the organized trip (benefits to be provided by the organizer) before buying an optional trip, so that in the event of failure to comply with the obligations or changes to the trip plan, you may be able to claim compensation on the basis of such a document. That is why it is so important to know a foreign language in which your contract for an optional trip that you intend to buy will be recorded.
What to look for when buying optional trips?
As always, your suspicions should arouse if the price of such an attraction is too low or too promotional. Of course, we are talking about local excursion vendors. Before buying it is worth asking everything carefully, and above all what exactly the price includes.
Especially in oriental countries, where the high cost of the trip is not a guarantee of the quality of service you will get. Sometimes it can happen that for little money you will see everything you wanted.
Unfortunately, it may be that you spend a lot of money without getting anything special in return and you will feel cheated.
For example, in Cuba, it is worth asking the owner of an antique taxi if he would not drive us around the area for a given amount of money, stopping at what’s more interesting places. Such a trip under the supervision of a local will prove to be not only more interesting, but sometimes cheaper than what the resident offers.
And in a very limited and private group.
In addition, the taxi driver will show you the cheapest stores, real (not prepared for tourists) tobacco rolling stations or views that you will not see with a group trip. You only need to set the price before you make the transaction, so that it doesn’t suddenly rise significantly at the end; )
On the other hand, when it comes to optional trips purchased from a resident, it is worth realizing that there will usually be some commercial stops on their route (e.g. alcohol distillery, olive press, local market or carpet factory). You get there because of the discounts the guide gets from these traders.
No pub or cafe we are led to is usually random; )
This is not particularly harmful, because no one will force you to shop or eat, so it’s worth accepting. This is how business looks like, everywhere in the world. It is also worth noting that some tour operators require a minimum number of participants, so sometimes optional trips with a small number of applicants are canceled.
Safety on optional trips
When it comes to safety, a bus of dubious efficiency can happen both on a trip with a travel agency and on a bus bought in the city. Both organizers are covered by the requirement to have appropriate licenses or to take out insurance policies. The resident will have a slightly lower risk, as usually the organizer should check for himself whether the carrier has all permits and guarantees.
The way to avoid disappointment is to check the offer and opinions about optional trips on the net. It is known that people who are dissatisfied with a given service write faster rather than satisfied.
However, you should always keep them in mind.
An even better source of information will definitely be a recommendation from friends or family who returned and used the optional excursions on site.
Are optional trips only traveling and sightseeing events?
Optional trips are not only trips to places historically or landscape attractive. They can also be cruises on various ships, trips to the desert, or jeep photo safari.
A very common case is organized evenings, where you learn not only the culture of the country (dances, songs), but also very often local cuisine including liquors.
Optional excursions may also include a diving course, canoe crossing, balloon flight or camel rides, or knightly competitions. It is not only trips to attractive places where the guide tells you the stories of a given building.
The limit is actually only the wealth of your wallet.
For those interested, there are also organized, for example, helicopter tours, which often take place over the biggest attractions known in the world, such as the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls or the city of gambling and a million lights, i.e. Las Vegas at night. On the other hand, the offer of optional trips for children is usually trips to aquaparks, amusement parks, zoos, aquariums or cruises with pirate ships.
Opinions on optional trips
We count on your reviews and opinions of individual optional trips organized by travel agencies or other companies. Let us know because your feedback will greatly help everyone else make the right decision.